"It's a question of which narrative you believe, and the narrative put out by the Left, that the Tories want to dismantle the NHS, hate the disabled and the poor, want to 'steal' money from the poor to give to their rich mates etc. is actually beyond parody to a great many people. They simply don't believe it, it's 'nonsense' as there is absolutely no evidence to back up those claims..."The man who wrote this was a normal guy who lives his life the same way as many of us; he, to my knowledge, isn't a politician nor has he a vested interest in any specific political party, yet his statement, plucked from a much longer thread on why people vote Tory, says far more about the whys than any political analyst.
For me the key point in this pull quote is: They simply don't believe it, it's 'nonsense' as there is absolutely no evidence to back up those claims. The fact that there is evidence out there that the NHS is in crisis and has been escalating towards this crisis since one Jeremy Hunt has been in charge means nothing to him or other voters who believe the way he believes. The fact that Hunt, on TV yesterday, said 'big decisions' will need to be made about how the NHS continues to operate means nothing. It means nothing because the mainstream media don't cover it and the majority of voters believe that left wing propaganda is more prevalent than right wing. It's like a lot of voters are inwardly thinking 'thou dost protest too much'.
We can bang on about the press and most medias being heavily weighted in favour of the Tories, but that's pretty much been the case since the 1960s; The Sun was really the only Tory tabloid to back Blair and people tend to forget the Daily Mail was forecasting the end of the UK by 2001 under a New Labour government. Since Thatcher and the fall of the socialist Labour party, the only way to beat them is to be a bit like them, perhaps a little less odious or oleaginous. John Smith's Labour party probably would have won in 1997, but by nowhere near the amount Blair managed, because Tories identified Blair as someone who would look after them.
If any lesson was learned from the EU referendum it was that people are not interested in 'the truth' because they don't believe 'the truth' and, guess what, many still don't believe it despite things beginning to slide towards the inescapable fact that life is going to be considerably harder once we've finally lost everything we had under the EU. Yet, there will be a large percentage of people who will look at that sentence and call me a traitor or deluded or not optimistic enough. There are people out there who, despite the EU never having adversely affected them ever, who would rather see the country burning than see us 'ruled' by Europe... And you want to despair; you want to grab these people by the collars and shout at them to stop being so stupid and you know if you presented them with 500 positive facts about being in the EU, they'd dismiss them all and throw 'sovereignty' in your face, like they have seriously believed our own politicians have done bugger all for 45 years (which is a case you could argue, to be fair...).
I know that a large majority of the people who will read this blog will not be voting Tory; very few of them would be prepared to sit down with a Tory to discuss the merits and benefits of voting Tory. It's anathema to them, yet people have consistently done it far more than vote Labour. Perhaps what offends people more than anything else is that 'Tory equates to selfishness' in the eyes of Pinko Liberals like myself who believe everyone has the right to a good life, even if the government has to subsidise that life for the few who truly can't do it for themselves. I mean, we're all selfish in our own ways, but some of us like to think we're better people than someone who can turn their back on a homeless person or someone struggling.
I've always argued that Margaret Thatcher hated the idea of communities and social(ist) help, always saying that if a person can fend for themselves then that is what they should do; the state should be there for temporary emergency help, not a lifestyle choice. This was something that appealed to a lot of people, especially isolated middle Englanders whose contact with lesser individuals was pretty much something they saw on Channel 5. The country has managed to unleash its inner selfishness to the point where people won't vote for a fairer society when they can vote for a wealthier personal life.
But... But... what about the young? How can Tories argue that the young are being given a chance, what with housing in crisis and the rise of zero hour contract jobs and no job security? Well, the same as any previous generation has done, work harder, save more, it's what their parents would have done... But what about the circumstances; the rogue landlords, the penalties imposed by the government? Suck it up; some of your ancestors fought in wars for you.
You can't win with a Tory because they usually have an answer for anything even if that answer isn't anything more than a comparison with a different age. but its ingrained on their psyches; the mantras of the right have been repeated so often, so cleverly, so insidiously, that we all believe it. I'm just as bad; I've accused some of my left wing friends for deserting Jeremy Corbyn because of media influence only to do it myself. No one is exempt from clever 21st century propaganda.
So now every morning I turn on my computer and look at social media and see my left wing friends sharing memes with each other and I wonder, 'Who are they trying to convince?' At the last GE a cousin of mine said, 'I don't care about that, I vote for what's best for me and my child' and while we, left wing doubters, can sneer and laugh at that statement, it's what she believed in. It doesn't matter that she was the victim of a right wing media conspiracy to destroy the left and social fairness... Rationally, do you know how fucking paranoid that sounds to most people who don't live their lives ruled by politics?
I've always said the best way to make people think is to hit them with things that affect them, but even if we can spell the truth out to them, they will look at it sceptically and wonder if it's really true. Equally, because the right wing media has soured the left in most peoples eyes, a Tory poster claiming Labour are rubbish with the economy, despite evidence suggesting the contrary will be believed, because people will remember the crash of 2009 and will blame Labour even if they actually did sensible things to prevent it. People blamed the Tories in 1997 for high inflation, high mortgages, loss of share values and attacks on public services; but in reality all they did was elect a less-blue Tory party with a belief in rebuilding and social tolerance.
How do we stop it? How do we make leftish politics acceptable again? We don't. The odds are stacked increasingly against it. As left wing supporters we need to ensure we don't lose our jobs, fall behind on the rent or mortgage, stay free from illness (don't drink, don't smoke, don't take drugs), maybe avoid having kids and remain normal and quiet and let the government get on with it; it's how most people do it.
We have to be patient and wait for the moment when the Tories' policies start to bite Tory voters on the arse, like they did in the early 1990s. Remember, the Tories should never really have got back into power in 1992, everybody was fed up with them; high rates, council tax, boom and bust economics had grown to a point where people would have welcomed a strong Labour party, but Neil Kinnock refused to court the press; he refused to be seen schmoozing and networking; he became ridiculed and when push came to shove John Major walked back into #10 probably as bewildered as Cameron did in 2015. They won because the people didn't trust the opposition regardless of how much they were promising.
The same applies today. Any rational person would have looked at the council election results and said Corbyn needs to go, now. Labour called it an 'expected setback' and blamed everything apart from the fact that in the majority of the nation the feeling is they are ... unelectable.
Because people are not really interested in politics any more, they are influenced by soundbites and what they see on the news or read in the papers - mainstream media is still massively important to the majority of people living here and if you have a media that is, in my eyes, heavily influenced by the party in power by virtue of the threat of privatisation, then you are unlikely to see any parity of coverage. UKIP now has ONE councillor and no MPs yet they get disproportionately greater coverage on the BBC than the Green Party with over 40 councillors and an actual MP; but UKIP gets more coverage than the LibDems and that has to be because the Tory's allow them to speak because it makes their own policies seem tame.
Yet, here's the craziness... I accept this is how it is and I know that me and many others are going to have to bide our time and wait for slim and futile opportunities to get a point across, yet, in the eyes of some people that statement alone is full of paranoia and suggests we're all taking on a needless bunker mentality. Raging against the machine isn't viewed by the masses as an act of freedom, it's an act of treason.
We see evidence of a growing intolerance in society; more hate, more inequality, more xenophobes trying to defend their position and if we spotlight it, it's us that gets pilloried; it's us that is accused of being a conspirator, a saboteur, a traitor. If Bernstein and Woodward were brought forward 40 years and discovered the same things about Trump as they did Nixon, the words 'Fake News' would be bandied about so much that no one would ever believe it and those that do would be as mad as any other conspiracy theory nut job.
A friend likes to call people 'sheep' and 'sheeple' and I love it. He does the cause no good at all. I get incandescent with rage at unbelievably ignorant Brexiteers and its like trying to convince a Born again Christian that God not only doesn't exist, but he was originally a psychotic chipmunk in a banned Disney movie before the Catholics adopted him, changed his image (based on Robert Powell) and dropped truth-obscuring LSD in the entire world's water supply, apart from Muslim countries where they don't drink water, they just eat sand...
We live in a post-truth world. We are out of step with it. Really and truly, we are no longer people who think the right way, we're people out of touch with 2017's reality; one where the president of the USA is a former Reality TV star; the UK became a turkey voting for Christmas; the media is focused on a largely manufactured war in Syria while the Saudi's (everybody's friend) commits genocide in Yemen and you get one of two mentions on slow news days, usually buried at the foot of World News. A reality where being tolerant is frowned upon; where being disabled is your own fault; where being out of step with common belief is traitorous.
You also need to remember that people will always remember what Labour did to people in the '70s and yet conveniently forget what the Tories did to many people during the '80s and early '90s; how much debt they forced on people; how much they took away from hardworking people and how they almost bankrupted the country; but this is far less important than anything Labour did 20 years earlier, when most have got over it or forgotten it or weren't even alive, but like to quote it.
That's why it's pointless to even bother trying to dissuade these people from voting for their own failure, because even if it fails they'll probably believe the Daily Mail when it blames everyone else but us for our soon-to-be-acquired Third World status. It's also pointless trying to change their minds because they will look at that previous sentence and call me a 'nutter' or much worse.
And how many of us can honestly say we're affected that deeply by whatever government is in power? This is an argument that many use, but many derided when it was wheeled out during the EU referendum debate. Most people really and truly think governments are there to help everyone and even when a politician admits they only help people who voted for them, many of those Tory voters probably nodded in approval and there's no reliable outlet to register dismay and anger towards this unjust statement; or any unjust government for that matter.
So perhaps it is best if we give up? Maybe we can feel happier with our heads buried in the sand, going la-la-la at the plight of others? Stay off the government's radar and we'll be fine, just you watch...
Is there a glimmer of hope?
Well, I think there is. Many Tory voters can become floating voters especially if their own livelihoods are threatened and there's an alternative that doesn't appear to be too radical (or soft). There is also the fact that most ordinary Tory voters don't like to engage in politics, is something that needs to be exploited. I've got a couple of good friends who also vote Tory, I know how shocking and traitorous that might sound, but, hey, get over it. These friends have a default setting: They don't talk about politics. Now, why do you think that is? Is it because they don't know enough about it? Is it because they are frightened they might get ridiculed? Is it because they feel slightly bad about it, like it doesn't really sit well with them but they feel there is no true alternative? I've always felt that some people, when admitting they voted Tory, look as though they've just admitted to being a transvestite, publicly.
If people, deep down, know that a Tory vote might be morally objectionable, that is the route to changing their minds about voting for them.
Forget the vile and adamant xenophobes; the relentless ignorants and the press; concentrate on the people who don't look comfortable with their choices; don't like talking about politics or show a hint of compassion - these are the people you need to convince and sadly, we're going to need a slicker opposition to be able to do this with any conviction.